Jan 31, 2009

You Are Thirteen Going On Fourteen.




Do you remember turning 13? I don't. I remember 12 because my parents gave me a surprise party. But 13 just kind of blended in with the rest. Joe is turning thirteen today.

Joe was born in Lawrence, Kansas and he had a rough first year of life. I had no idea what was wrong with him. He would randomly throw up. He would wake up every night frantically itching his arms and legs until he bled. Everyone who saw him knew something was wrong and complete strangers and friends would offer advice and suggest things to buy that might help him. Some people recommended slathering him with Vaseline and wrapping him in layers of saran wrap others suggested bathing in the Dead Sea. We saw about 5 allergists and as many dermatologists during this time and they all had different advice. There were several times during that first year that I wondered how life would ever work out for him and wondered if his misery would ever end. It was a very tough time in our lives.

At 10 months old he finally was so sick that he got admitted for 5 days to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City all because through a weird twist of fate the doctor who Joe normally saw was getting married and we saw a different doctor in the pediatric group who took action immediately.

We eventually ended up with a "tie dye" doctor in Kansas City who changed Joe's life. Funny how desperation leads you to those "tie dye" doctors. Also funny how everything falls into place...the insurance was more than happy to pay the "tye die" doctor, the special shots called Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization shots (or as we affectionately call them EPD) the "tie dye" doctor gave Joe were in the USA just long enough for Joe to have enough of them to miraculously change his life, some lady in the Lawrence Library saw Joe sitting in an aisle of books scratching and was brave enough to give me the "tie dye" doctor's card and a stern admonition to call him, and so many more things. Finally, he was able to get off of prednisone and live a semi normal life. He is still allergic to wheat, milk, soy, peanuts and eggs and never gets to eat all the fun stuff like cupcakes and cookies and such.

And here he is turning thirteen in Massachusetts. He had two little school friends over last night and the 5 girls (plus Nichole) got a small glimpse into what their lives would have been like if they had not had just two brothers that were 6 years apart but rather three brothers that were all 13. It was quite an eye opener, boys wrestling, boys making indescribable noises with their bodies and giggling hysterically about those noises, boys chasing each other, boys bragging about wounds they got from playing in the snow. All of us girls just watched, bewildered. Miriam and Nichole were actually invited to participate and play "monster" which involves someone inside a sleeping bag chasing people not in sleeping bags. They tried it but appeared in my room very shortly after leaving declaring that they, "really needed some girl time."

The boys favorite thing to do last night was fake fight and I must say they all have careers in the movies. It looked so real. I overheard them talking about their fake fighting skills and discussing how if they ever accidentally really hit each other it would be "so sick" ("sick" means cool) to really fight and after a pause they all then reassured each other that "hey, man we would still be friends if that happened."

Joe got a big Indiana Jones Lego set that has a big airplane in it, a DVD of Kevin Costner's old movie Waterworld, a set of these war figures that he loves to paint, some paint to go with them and two boxes of these cookies that I just discovered at IKEA that Joe can actually eat. The first cookies in his whole life he has been able to eat.

Today he got to go see Mall Cop, the movie, with his church friend and Miriam did his paper route for him....for free.

Joe makes us laugh more you could ever imagine. He has eyes that sometimes are blue and sometimes are green and the cutest freckles you ever saw. And fabulous hair that we keep a little long just to give people at church something to talk about. He has a temper to match none but is the most generous and kind kid ever.
Funny how when I went back to Indiana for a visit how many people fondly remembered Joe's antics and wanted the scoop on any new antics. :)

Jan 30, 2009

Oatmeal and Sly Fox.




Wait...I can explain....come back. I know 8 days not blogging is suicide in the blogging world and believe me it killed me more than it killed you. But let me start at the beginning and then you will forgive me and start checking my blog again everyday and tell your friends that I am back.

My last post was last Thursday...I think. Last week was a complete mess because the three high schoolers had mid-terms and the high school here does the strangest thing for mid terms that I have ever seen. They have mid terms the whole week. And so the kids only go to school for one or two hours a day. And they all come and go at different times every day so it was a joyous week of driving back and forth to the high school. We have never lived anywhere where they do midterms like this. Apparently, here in Massachusetts they never considered there might be parents who would have 3 kids at the high school at once. And they probably never considered that it would be a bother to have your three teenagers at home during mom time........sigh.....selfish me.

Thursday night was book club where we discussed Angle of Repose by my buddy Wallace Stegner.

Oh, and do not forget during all this chaos that Brian is in Colorado and Wyoming. And that I have a fast approaching talk in church on Sunday.

Friday night was Madeline and Amanda's track meet at Smith College. Madeline is the second fastest hurdler in the state of Massachusetts and the captain of the track team, two facts that I, her loving mother, did not even know so I thought I should go watch them run. A couple ladies from church went with me and we did not get home from the meet until very late. Madeline handily won her 55 meter hurdles and came within a second of setting a track record for the Smith College track but got disqualified because she had put her little tiny black pony tail holder on her wrist. Aaaaarghhh.

Then I got up early Saturday and drove an hour and a half to Ikea in New Haven with Natalie, some of my friends and their kids. I want you to know that I walked away from Ikea spending only $20.00. But in my heart I spent thousands.

Sunday was my talk. I am one of those people who can not "wing" a talk in church. I have to have every word I am going to say written down, leaving absolutely nothing to chance. Well I was in a panic as 2:00 am Sunday morning arrived and I did not have every word that I was going to say written down and I was just a little tired. I did not know what to do. So I decided to "wing" it. I knew I had all the information it was just what order it should go in. My talks have to make sense, have a point and flow perfectly. Is that asking too much? Oh, and be written in calligraphy :) Anyway, the talk went fine and the rest of that "day of rest" I had to plan Seminary lessons for the week.

That brings us to Monday. And the reason Monday through Thursday were a mess was because of three words, Sly Fox and Oatmeal. Many of you know that I am a "white wall girl." If I move into a house and any walls are painted we immediately paint them white. I have always been this way. But my WAAOCG ( We Are Afraid of Colors Group) meetings really helped and I finally realized that if you hate it you could....gasp.... always paint over it. I had finally noticed after all these years that I had a very white house.

I have been thinking and thinking and reading and reading and asking and asking about colors for about 6 years now. So I thought I was finally ready to make some decisions. I thought maybe a sage green in the kitchen. So I found a green I liked at Home Depot went to Wal Mart and had them mix it, brought a sample home and plopped some on the wall.....it was horrible. And I must say Wal Mart has the best return policy in the land. They took the paint back no problem and gave me my money back.

After brainstorming with my color/painting support system...AKA my, oh so patient, friend Mindy we decided that I should go with some red. I heard it was tough. That choosing red was only for the heartiest of painters but I ADORE the color red so I decided to go for it. I have a red sign in my kitchen that has the saying, "There's No Place Like Home" on it and I love this sign, it is the perfect color red. Because, you do know there are 9 million different reds out there don't you ? So despite the fact that the sign is long and awkward I dragged it with me into Wal Mart....wait, you say, why Wal Mart? Good question. Through all my years of asking questions and reading Consumer Report everyone seems just as content with Wal Mart paint as any other. Everyone in the world except my husband. So I went to Wal Mart but as I was standing there talking to a paint guy that did not look quite like I thought a paint guy should I could hear my husbands disapproving voice in my head and that was not good because you see I was painting while he was on a trip and I was not telling him. Yes, kind jury Mrs. Baird premeditated "the painting crime." I had planned it for weeks knowing he would be out of town. I even bought the "blue tape" long before he got on the airplane to Denver and hid it from him. :)

But you do not really want to hear about how I set a very bad example by not consulting with the husband before painting do you? But in my defense I have been asking him to paint for awhile and he always has a reason why we can't. And now that I am 40 I am on this "I can do it myself" kick. My whole life I have been very gifted at providing refreshments and entertainment while people do things for me and I wanted to actually do something myself.

Okay, back to our story where we are now across the street from Wal Mart at Home Depot where the "better" half supposedly buys their paint. :) I gave up on Wal Mart and to help with my "painting without permission guilt" had headed to Home Depot with my sign that had the perfect color red on it. The Home Depot people were very nice and worked for awhile on matching the red on my sign. While I was there I also got a neutral color for my walls that would not be painted red. And my neutral color ended up being Ralph Lauren's Oatmeal. Crazy, huh? I had very long chats with several people about painting red and how to do it perfectly. And after all my information gathering I decided to put down Glidden's gray gripper primer before the red. So I left Home Depot with 2 gallons of Ralph Lauren's Oatmeal in Satin. (only the silkiest oatmeal for Ralph) and one gallon of my specially mixed, and at long length discussed gallon of red, and my primer. Oh, do not forget two more rolls of tape and some Purdy rollers. All the professionals, like me, use Purdy Rollers.

It was Monday evening and I got everything ready. Moved furniture, masked, laid down drop cloths, masked, yelled at children, masked, worked on my seminary lesson, masked, painted the primer on, and masked some more...just for fun.

I had decided, with help, to paint two walls and the front part of my stairs....(I have hardwood floors and stairs so "the front" is the part on the stairs that is usually white and shows all the scuff marks?) red and everything else oatmeal.

Tuesday morning Mindy came to help me and we started with the red. I looked at it and thought something was not right...but I figured it would work out okay but as the day went on and we got more of it on the wall and less of it in the can I was pretty sure that this was not red it was purple trying to be red. And I knew Brian would be home Wednesday evening and may be sad about purple mixed with red :) So I went back to Home Depot and chose a red that no one would have to mix without a machine telling them exactly how to do it. Besides it had been bothering me that my paint color did not have a name. So I chose Behr's Sly Fox. And it was perfect.

So to make a long story short I painted and painted and painted without stopping.... all through a snow day, a delayed start, children fighting, children wondering what was for dinner. I stopped for only the paper route's, to teach Seminary and to kill Joe when he was chasing Amanda around a corner and put his hand in my freshly painted red wall. I had a catastrophe involving the "blue tape" very thoughtlessly pulling up chunks of my already painted wall. But I "googled" and called some friends and started over. When Brian walked in the door on Wednesday night the kids were so excited to show him what we had done. Let's just say he was not as excited as they would have liked. And he definitely would have done a better job all while not getting paint on the screwdriver and the outside of the can.

But I am very pleased with myself. I am amazed the rest of you were right and that color does make a difference. Everything feels...warmer :)

Jan 22, 2009

Complaining About A Safety Device.


I may shock you a little with my complaining today but I am going to complain about something that is in my house that is there to keep me safe. But in my house this particular safety feature has an overachieving personality. I think it was born that way. And not only is it an overachiever but it is a leader.

When you walk in my front door and look up you will see the very innocent looking circle on the ceiling. It is one of 6 smoke detectors in my house. But this one is special you see, it is bound and determined to win the, "Smoke Detector of the Year Award." It is rare that this smoke alarm does not go off when we use the oven, and sometimes it will even go off when we use the stove top. And when it starts all the other smoke detectors immediately join in. If we swing a laundry basket, broom or jacket in front of this one it will stop and depending on it's mood it will either permanently stop or it will restart....just depending.

There are a couple things about this situation that are not good. The first is that you can imagine it could tend to make one a little self conscious about their cooking skills :) The second is that we all tend to ignore it...."the smoke alarm that cried wolf." One day I was boiling chicken in a pot on the stove and for the first time in my life forgot I was boiling chicken on the stove. I was downstairs and heard the smoke alarm go off and ignored it. Because, honestly, and truly it goes off ALL the time. A few minutes later I headed upstairs to get something and luckily was just in time to catch my chicken breast from catching fire. It is very bad to ignore your smoke alarm :)

While we are on the subject of burning things, ovens and such I must explain the picture. Last night I made cookies. At 6:00 Eastern Standard Time I had a batch in the oven that was almost done and I asked my very conscientious Amanda to please take them out when they were done because I needed to run into town and sign up Joe for lacrosse. So I ran to town, with Natalie, and signed up Joe, dropped DVDs at the library and headed home. Brian and all the other kids left for Wednesday activities at the church at about 6:25. I got home at 7:10 and when I opened the garage door there was a very bad smell and smoke ( by the way....NO smoke alarm blaring? ) Amanda had left the cookies in the oven. I have never seen a "hockey puck" cookie in my life but that is most definitely what we had. when I do the math I am amazed at how long those cookies were in the oven. And if you ever need to deliberately make "hockey puck" cookies I am happy to supply you with the details :) The worst part is how absolutely horrid the house smells.

Jan 21, 2009

A letter for George W Bush.


Dear George W,


Even though you do not know me I was thinking about you this morning. Wondering what it is like after 8 years in the White House to be back in Texas? Won't it be nice not to have a job that everyone in America thinks they can do better? Just to be at home. No one to judge how you do things. Actually, I guess we never get away from people thinking the way we choose to do things is wrong. There is probably someone on your street that will have a problem with how often you mow your lawn or the way you put your trash out and will enjoy judging you for it.


I tend to worry too much about how people feel and I have found myself worrying a little bit about if you feel any gratefulness after 8 long years of trying to do the best you could for our country. Everyone seems so excited to get rid of you. When things are not going well people always look for someone to blame and they seem to have all picked you. No one seems to remember that there are a lot of factors involved in how a president makes decisions. There surely has to be alot of compromising and negotiating involved. I bet sometimes that is frustrating. You know what you want to get done and you really believe in it but other people may not see it that way and they delight in making it difficult for you to do what you want and they love telling you it is going to be hard or nearly impossible to do. I have that problem at home with my teenagers, my hubby and sometimes even people in my church.


I wonder if anyone expressed any gratitude to you for how hard you worked to keep life good for us? I think you were a very honest person and that is important to me that I can trust someone who is making decisions for me. I know you made some promises that you were not able to keep but that happens to everyone and everyone feels bad about it when they have to go back on a promise. But sadly we always expect that to never happen to the President. We Americans have very high expectations of their leaders and if we are not rich, happy, have a job and have no struggles we sadly blame you and demand change. And then when change does not work out we demand change again. We are all looking for utopia and it does not exist. Another very sad thing to me is that we always want someone to blame we do not seem to be very good at taking responsibility for our own actions. Obama has promised to take care of us and that makes a lot of people happy. But some domestic goddess in Massachusetts who listens to conservative talk radio when she can and reads the Wall Street Journal when she can knows that you wanted us to be happy too and that you did your best to take care of us.

And I am pretty sure that you know that in the coming years when anything bad happens for Obama it will be blamed on you and things you did. And not many people will research to find out for themselves if that is indeed true. We all look for our own truth and find it hard to believe there could be another opinion that could possibly be right. I am a perfect example. It is so strange when I stop and realize that just as strongly as I believe in conservative views there is someone else out there feeling just as strongly and sure about their liberal views.
I wish I was more confident with my opinions. I wish I understood more of how and why every decison was made during the past 8 years. It is like a huge puzzle with so many pieces and everyone seems to think it is just plain and simple. I wish I was someone important that everyone would listen to and respect so that I could remind everyone to show you some gratitude.

Well, thank you again for everything. Tell Laura I think she was a very classy first lady. And best of luck with your new life.

All my respect and admiration,

Jennifer


Jan 20, 2009

Pictures and Words :)

This is why I have to change where I work on my Seminary lesson in the evening. Amanda is doing homework. Miriam is doing homework and Natalie is just hanging out. And you can not see Madeline because she is taking the picture. I feel like I am constantly living in my Helaman Halls dorm room at BYU. I never did understand my roommates who did the study at the library thing until last night when my girls would not be quiet while I was trying to plan my lesson.

One of my fondest memories from growing up is going thrift store shopping in Everett, Washington with my 3 sisters and my mom. There was nothing like the thrill of a "find." Sadly, I was not the one in our family blessed with "the gift." What is "the gift", you ask? Well, "the gift" is that you can walk into any thrift store in the continental United States and find all the name brand clothes with nothing wrong with them. Not only that, they fit your cute little skinny body perfectly and they happen to have a tag on them that designates them as costing half off on that particular day. My sister Sarah has "the gift." Sometimes my mom, Rebecca, Rachel and I get lucky but Sarah has "the gift." You see, you want to find something that everyone else is green with envy that you found but they have to pretend they are so happy you found it. That never happens to me. When we were all "thrift storing" together in Georgia this past October I got semi close with this Pottery Barn Kids shower curtain for $3.00.

This is Miriam and Nichole. Miriam and Nichole are inseparable. Every single weekend they are together. They fight. They make up. They laugh. They drive each other crazy. They plan a party and invite boys to come and play games or watch movies with them every weekend. When we moved to Massachusetts it was a very tough move and Miriam is the only child who decided that praying about her needs was the answer. So, honestly, she prayed and asked for a friend and I kid you not that within a week Nichole was the answer to Miriam's prayers. The only bummer is Nichole is a senior and Miriam is a junior. Every weekend when they are together and they are playing music too loud, dancing through the house and laughing until they cry I watch them and I can not help but think of all my dear girlfriends I have had throughout the years and how being a girl is just thoroughly delicious. I may complain about their drama but it is what makes girls who we are. I can not imagine how boring we would be without our drama.... I guess sort of like boys :)
Look carefully.... can you see the top of a the 18 year old's head?
Wouldn't you expect to see the head here? Yeah, me too. But for some reason in the midst of raising 7 children Madeline, child number 2, did not get the memo on the difference between different pieces of furniture and their uses. Bed is for sleeping. Floor is for walking on....okay, or for throwing clothes on. And shelves and bedside tables are for piling stuff on

Please tell me if there is any way to cook for your family and avoid having dishes? I thought I had other reasons for not cooking dinner all these past couple years and this morning when I stared at this mess on the counter I had one of those "revelation" type moments and realized that the true reason was the dishes that one can not help dirtying. Yes, the dish washer is full of clean dishes. Yes, the children do the dishes. This is what is left.

Jan 18, 2009

Church Tables.






Just so you know...church tables have lots of uses :) During the week this table is the Seminary table. But this weekend Tatiana discovered a new use for the table that entertained she and Joe and Natalie for hours which was good because another snow storm rolled in causing our church to get cancelled yet again. I did not ask how they discovered the table could be a slide I did not want to know.


I found 2 church tables at a garage sale when we lived in Indiana and I have never regretted purchasing them. Brian hates them because they are so gosh darn heavy and he often has to move them in the house when we have company. They are most definitely not the newer, lighter church tables.


I wonder if the church recommends using them as a slide? I also wonder is it is okay to slide on a church table on the Sabbath? I wonder if you are looking at my messy playroom? One can not slide in a clean playroom.....it's all wrong.

Jan 17, 2009

Pushing Spring.

A week ago I remembered to order seed catalogs. I ordered one from Territorial Seed, Johnny's, Burpee and another from New England Seed Company. I am trying to be very focused on the garden this year. Every year in my life, so far, I imagine myself ordering my seeds and starts from a catalog. I imagine being on a first name basis with the UPS guy as he delivers all my "goods." But so far that little fantasy has not happened. This year I decided to make sure I had some catalogs that were based in New England thinking I heard somewhere that that was a very important detail, to order seeds from a catalog in your general area. Territorial Seed Company is in Oregon, more specifically Cottage Grove where my parents live. I am not sure why I ordered it...just curious. But Johnny's is in Maine, Burpee is in Pennsylvania, and of course New England Seed is in Hartford, CT and you really can not be a seed company and get much closer to me than that :) Maybe it does not matter at all where your seeds come from. But remember I have some strange "do it exactly right" agenda this year.

The Territorial Seed catalog from the West coast came first and the Johnny's catalog came a day later. The others have not come yet.

I spent the whole day today sitting at the kitchen table reading seed catalogs. I got the all important fresh notebook with nothing yet written in it. And each page will be devoted to a certain item that will go in my garden. I am writing how deep the seeds should be planted, which amount of sun they prefer, how tall they will grow, which variety I order, how it does, how far to plant them from each other, and any special notes that will help me in my "perfect garden" quest. You may feel inclined to point out to me that I have never done this before and my gardens have been fine. But I will always wonder if it could be better than it is if I do not at least one year do everything exactly right. This may be the year Brian wants to get a new wife. :) My rows will be perfectly straight and things that need to be trellised will be trellised ever so perfectly. I will sing merrily to the bugs as I kill them with chemicals I am researching :) And I will make friends with the animals so they won't eat a thing they are not invited to eat. And then I will make signs in each animals particular language so they will know when they are invited to nibble :)

I have been researching herbs and what purposes they can serve. It cannot hurt to know which ones can help with what ailment..... just in case. So I am planting some herbs that I have never tried before....Winter Savory and Feverfew...and some other herbs that I have always planted but recently discovered they have some other purposes....did you know chewing on a dill seed will reduce flatulence? The new herbs I chose are perennials and need minimal love and I have a good spot for those kind of guys. My first project when the 12 inches of snow that is currently on the ground melts is tear all the undergrowth out of this one area that I did not get to last year. This area is going to be my herb area. Then I need to try that Craigslist thing and find some free bricks to make little herb "areas."

My head is spinning with all sorts of terms. I am wondering if I should try treated seeds? I am thinking I am going to plant determinate tomatoes this year instead of indeterminate ones. I never knew you were supposed to prune indeterminate ones to get the best harvest. For the first time I am reading carefully about varieties and which ones are more resistant to disease and which ones are more flavorful. I am even considering buying the varieties that are not circled by the seed catalog people as the ones everyone chooses. Which is the easy way out. :)

I chose 5 different kinds of cut flowers. And I am going to plant long rows of flowers this year. I am very excited about that part. I am looking for the perfect dahlia.

So i will keep you posted and you can take bets as to when my perfect garden quest will end :)

Jan 16, 2009

Censoring and Recommending.




I confess life without a job is a good life. A tad bit of a guilty life but a good life. So let me tell you what I have been doing with all my time..... all after I clean the house, exercise, write loving notes to all my children, put dinner in the crock pot, and read my scriptures...of course!

Book club is coming up and the book for January was a book called Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Nobody had read the book before it was voted into our lineup last March so as people started reading it in preparation for this book club I heard some rumbling about some serious questionable content in the book. This is the part that a leader of book club dreads. I never know how to deal with it. It always comes up so you think I would have a plan. And actually I think I have finally, after all these years of book clubs, come up with a plan. Here it is:

First when we choose books for the year you can only bring books for us to vote on that you have actually read so that you can divulge all the "juicy" parts up front.

Second, we will be grown ups and make our own decision and vote for what we want to read.

Everyone has a different level of tolerance and it is SO hard to please everyone so I hope my plan works.

Since we postponed Firefly Lane we moved our February book up to this month. February's book is Angle of Repose. I first learned about this book at book club in Kansas. And I think it may have been Melissa who introduced it. All I know is I love Wallace Stegner. The first time I heard of Wallace Stegner was when my dad sent all of my siblings and I an article about the Mormon pioneers written in a Harper's Collier magazine many years ago by Mr Stegner. Wallace Stegner was not a Mormon but has written several things about Mormons. This particular article was written about how dignified and hard working the Mormon pioneers were compared to other pioneer groups.

In book club in Kansas we once read Wallace Stegner's Mormon Country. Kristy lead that discussion in Wendi Bastian's living room and I seem to remember it was quite a discussion :)

I have read Crossing To Safety and Big Rock Candy Mountain also by my best friend Wallace but nothing can compare to Angle of Repose. It won a Pulitzer and is one of the few books that I own that I have read more than once. The first 15 pages of my copy are missing since I have read it so much :) My copy is one that Melissa gave me years ago. (Yes, "years ago.") I always get nervous when a book club actually votes Angle of Repose in because you have to be patient with this book and be willing to really savor each description and word. I find that people rarely finish the book thus making it nearly impossible to discuss with any coherence opinions on the main characters and why they end up the way they do. But I am used to it and prepare myself to be pleasantly surprised if someone else finishes it and loves it. I was heartened to see that on Scribbit's blog she actually lists Angle of Repose as one of her favorite books too. And she is a very coherent, smart person unlike me :) Everybody needs validation, right?

It is so hard to recommend entertainment because it is so subjective. Everyone likes something different for all kinds of reasons. I watched a movie I really liked the other day but I am afraid to tell anyone I liked it because people will watch it and think I loved the just the "juicy" parts. :) Oh, come on we all know we do it :)

My TV entertainment this week, that I justify because I am filing and sorting papers while watching, has been season 4 of Lost. Season 5 starts next week so I need to hustle. My favorite way to watch a TV shows season is to rent all the DVDs after all is said and done and watch a whole season all at once without commercials. It takes a little patience to wait for it come out on DVD but the wait is always worth it. Although then your head is another place because it is so overloaded with a million hours of viewing :) You find yourself on the paper route wondering if you just saw Jack in "those there" woods. Anyway, I have 9 million Lost questions in my head each question that gets solved brings up another question. And all I can say is addiction is evil.

So has your book club has ever dealt with a "questionable content" book? Are you also afraid to tell people that you saw The Duchess and cried and cried through the whole thing? And what are you watching while you are "filing and sorting?"

Jan 15, 2009

At Home With The Incredible Hulk.


Well yesterday was a first in the Baird Family. I debated about telling you about this "first" but then I decided that if I do not share my struggles you may begin to think I have a perfect life :) And besides when you have your struggles I want you to know someone out there who totally understands what you are going through. A friend you can call to ask what to do. (not like I will know :) I want you to remember the exact moment when you read this post and you may even remember when you read it how you thought, "That will never happen to me, poor Jennifer."


So with that introduction I will tell you about yesterday.


Yesterday I was sitting here in the very spot I am right now just finishing up my blog about Joe and Miriam on the paper route and my cell phone rang. I did not recognize the number. And I rarely answer if I do not recognize the number but for some reason I answered and it was the vice principal from the middle school. It seems there was a problem. A problem involving Joe. You see he was walking into school with a friend and that friend was enjoying kicking the backpack of a kid in front of him. Well the kid whose backpack was getting kicked finally decided enough was enough and he turned around and decided Joe was the one kicking his backpack and shoved Joe into the wall and caused Joe to bump his head. Well Joe could be compared to the Incredible Hulk at times. Something will cause him to get angry and he will just lose control. Not something we are proud of but we are working on it and talking about it all the time at our little house :) It has been happening much less but clearly not less enough :) Anyhow the bump on the head caused Joe to decide to hit this kid. He hit him 3 or 4 times and then left and walked to his homeroom class. Well this kid went and told the principal. The principal gathered information and called me. He was very surprised at Joe. Yeah, me too. But he said there must be "consequences." And I said, "Of course." So Joe was suspended from school for two days.


I am not really sure what to do with a suspended child as I have never had one of those before. He is very sorry for the way he acted. He will never do it again. The hard part is all the other kids at school and church congratulating him, and giving him "high 5's" for being suspended. So we have talked about how this is not a congratulating kind of thing no matter what anyone says. Also, I am not the kind of mom to blame anyone but my kid when these things happen. I am not blind to the fact that my children make mistakes. I rarely stand up for them. Which may not be a good thing. Regardless of how it all came about to me it is without a doubt Joe's fault because no matter what anyone says or does to you you should be in control of you.


This suspension thing does not seem to be a very effective punishment. And that may be my fault. I have given him jobs. He has written his Christmas thank you cards. We have talked and talked about how we will deal with any situation like this in the future. He has worked on some scouting stuff and done all his homework. And he is very upset about missing school.


What if I could suspend my kids from home? Send them to school and tell the school to keep them for two days because they are not behaving at home? How would they like it? :) I wonder what the school is hoping the suspension will accomplish? Brian wants me to sit him at the kitchen table all day so he can pretend he is at school. Sadly, Brian is in Buffalo on a business trip so I will confess that Joe and I are bonding by watching the 4 th season of Lost together so that we can be ready for season 5 to begin next week. If it was the 2 nd time Joe had been suspended believe me things would be different. If He was not repentant believe me things would be different. So judge me if you must :)

Jan 14, 2009

The Difference.

Since Miriam now has a paper route I have discovered something that I possibly already knew, that there is a very big difference between how a 12 year old boy does his paper route and a 16 year old girl does her paper route.

Both of their bundles of papers land on our front porch at about 1:30 pm everyday except Saturdays when they arrive about 8:00am. Miriam walks in the door from the bus at 2:30 pm carrying her bundle with her. She puts a bagel in the toaster and bags her papers while she is waiting for the bagel to pop up. She gets the papers bagged just in time to smear way too much cream cheese on her bagel and smoosh the sides of the bagel together. Then she scoops all her papers up in her arms, sometimes they fall on the ground but she just picks them back up without saying a word and with her bagel in her mouth heads for the car. She squeezes through the space between the swimming pools hanging on the garage wall and the car she carefully opens the passenger side door and throws her papers on the floor of the front seat. She then climbs in and we are ready to go. She has not really said much up to this point just perhaps a few pleasantries about her day.

She really wants to be riding her bike on the route but most of the side roads are covered with snow and a layer of ice and besides the bikes need a dad to fix them. She did walk her route one day last week and strangely was very positive and happy about the experience. Some houses want their paper in the tube by the mailbox, some houses want the paper in their breezeway, some want it between their screen door and front door and some even want you to come in their house and set it somewhere particular. Miriam never says much of a word about any of it. She just does what needs to be done. If it goes in the tube she does it very quickly and always makes it in the tube from whatever distance I manage to position the car. If the paper goes on the porch she sets it up very carefully next to the door. She walks to each door and walks back. We are very efficient and quick.

Joe gets home at 3:00. He never brings his papers in. I have to remind him. Then he complains that he is starving and is going to die if he does not eat before we do the route. I come back through the kitchen and see that he set everything up for bagging the papers but there is no sign of Joe. I call for him and he comes back and starts bagging the papers. I come back through the kitchen about 5 minutes later and half the papers are bagged and Joe is no where to be seen. I find him again and tell him I am heading to the car and he better hurry. He panics and finally pulls himself together.

Once we get in the car he talks a mile a minute about his day. About unfair things at school, about all the kids that got in trouble that day. Then he starts in on his daily shopping requests. Can we stop at Blockbuster? Can we stop at the hobby store for model guys to paint? Can we go to Gamestop? Can we go to the library? Let me tell you a boy with money is a double edged sword. All of this conversation carries on through out the whole route. Often he will carry on a conversation with me while he is walking up to the house and I am still in the car. When we stop at any tubes Joe HAS to sit on the edge of the window and hang half of his body out of the window as he slides the paper in. And then he HAS to knock any snow or ice off of the top of the mailbox before we leave. When he gets out of the car to run to a house he always runs, slides, jumps off of piles of snow, kicks imaginary foes and hollers randomly "butt", "poop,"at the top of his lungs in a really strange voice. He throws the paper to the porch and if it slides off he loses his temper. If he sees a dog he barks at it and whistles at it. This particular behavior has already earned him two dog bites. Which I ignored because I watched the whole thing and he definitely deserved the bites :) He will stand in front of the car daring me to run him over. He will bang the back of the car trying to scare me. At one spot on the route there is an apple tree and when apples are in season he loves to place apples under the tires of my car a delightfully holler when I smash them with the tires. He deliberately steps in puddles and slides on ice. All the little boys in the neighborhood stare at him longingly and with admiration. One mom told me her little boy has always wanted to be a paper boy.

The difference is definitely stark between Joe and Miriam's ways. I could do with a little less of Joe's losing his temper at mailboxes that will not close and inanimate objects that cause him endless grief. But at least they provide us with many teaching moments :) He must be doing something right because he received over a $100.00 extra dollars in tips, McDonald's gift cards, and movie passes from the people on his route for Christmas. I am sure Miriam will soon also achieve this status on her route. But nevertheless it is very fascinating to watch and it makes me smile :)

Jan 13, 2009

Washing Machine, Scmashing Machine.


Isn't it amazing what a day without a washing machine can do to a person? I discovered on Sunday afternoon ( yes, I tried to do laundry on Sunday:) that my washing machine had finally died. We had been living on borrowed time anyway. I had to run the drain and rinse cycle twice on each load. The word on the street was that it was going to cost at least $250.00 to fix some computer issue with the washing machine. We were not going to do that...oh no...we were going to wait for it to die and then we were going to buy a new machine for way more than $250.00. On Sunday night I asked Brian to load all the laundry in the car so I could go to the laundry mat. So mysterious that we had done all the laundry on Saturday and that by Sunday night there were 4 baskets of laundry for him to load in the car. After he put it all in the car everything looked so nice and neat in the hall by the washing machine and dryer that I thought that maybe I was on to something I should have everyone take their laundry to the car all the time where I can not see it until I am good and ready for it.


I planned to get out of the house early on Monday morning to go to the laundry mat but I found myself putting it off. I had a lot of things I was trying to fit into the day since I was fixing dinner for my brother and his family I had to go to the store and the library and I kept trying to figure out the best way to time it all. After some phone calls from Brian, who was researching potential washing machine options, we decided we would have a washing machine by the end of the day thus nixing the laundry mat plan. So I headed off to the store and library (darn resolution to not have library fines :) but strangely I grabbed the last lingering basket of clothes and the detergent to take with me. I ran my errands and on the way home found myself sitting outside the laundry mat. Just sitting there with my car piled with laundry. The laundry mat was empty which is perfect. It was big and looked very clean. The sun was even shining on the floor inside. But just as I was committing I realized I had nothing with me to read. So I drove away.


So sadly, we have a new washing machine. Don't you hate that? You get something new and you are sad. It is the spending money thing that puts a damper on the whole experience. It makes it so miserable for me that I did not even participate. I left it all up to Brian. Spending the money was so painful that I do not even care that the washing machine is giving the dryer a complex because it is so much cuter.


However, I do care, greatly, that I just ran the first batch of laundry and the clothes were still very wet when the load was done. I wonder if the Baird family has some setting up washing machine issues that cause this to always happen? Would that not be hilarious that we continue to kill washing machines because we never read the instructions and set them up wrong?


So to recap, for one day anyone who wanted to could sit on the couch because there was no laundry on it....it was all in the car and I spent all my money so I cannot own a Mary Engelbreit calendar now. :) Oh and in case you ever wondered I also learned that laundry mat is definitely 2 words.

Jan 12, 2009

Monday.

Well I would love time for a leisurely post I have so many things to tell you about but here are the cold hard details that are holding me back from this love.

Washing Machine.....broken....must go to laundry mat with 6 baskets of laundry :)

My brother Jeff and his family from Utah that I have not seen in 4 years are in Boston so they are coming to dinner tonight. So I have to clean the house and make dinner so they do not think I am the incompetent sister :)

So tonight when all is done I will post something more substantial.

Jan 9, 2009

Calendar


Did you know it is January 8th and I do not have a 2009 calendar? What is happening? The expectation has been that every year I get a Mary Engelbreit calendar. It was the same every year. It took me a couple years to educate the husband on who Mary Engelbreit was and then I assumed it was smooth sailing from there. But last year all of a sudden Mary Engelbreit calendars became hard to find...according to the husband. You could not just walk into a "big box" and pick one up. You might have to...gasp....look on line. So I did not get a Mary Engelbreit calendar last year and yep, you guessed it...no Mary Engelbreit this year. I have a Bridgeport National Bindery calendar...from Brian's work. Love the place of employment...do not get me wrong. But it does make the home feel a little like an auto body shop or car repair place that has a blank white wall with a tilted, spiral bound calendar hanging on the wall right next to the employee of the month sign. So I have not hung it up yet. And I am thus losing track of everything that would normally be on the calendar. I know the missionaries should be coming to dinner....but when?

I love Mary Engelbreit calendars because of the quotes in them quotes like:

"How beautiful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterward" A Spanish Proverb that was form May a couple of years ago. From the looks of May there was no rest in the month but the thought was ever so nice :)

"If you can attain repose and calm believe that you have seized happiness" Julie-Jeanne-Eleanore De Lespinasse

I confess I also love Mary's attention to detail and all the colors she uses.

Speaking of Mary Engelbreit when I left Kansas my friend Kristy slipped a box into my moving van. When I was unpacking in Indiana and I found this box I did not recognize. I opened it and inside was a Mary Engelbreit bowl...it was red (my favorite color) with cherries all around it..Kristy and Alyson had bought it for me knowing that I had looked at it many times when shopping on Mass Street in Lawrence but would never spend the money on it in a million years. I loved this bowl dearly. Literally weeks before we left Indiana for Massachusetts the bowl got broken. I was so sad. It was almost symbolic...long story :)

Well I guess I will order my own calendar online :)

Jan 6, 2009

Giving Things Away.


Did that get your attention? Why do the words "giving away" get so much attention?


I have noticed that a lot of blogs have "give aways." I have really been wondering about that. Some people give away awesome things they make all by themselves, other people are so lucky that companies send them things that they can then give away to their readers. I have decided that you get more readers if you give things away. I have noticed since the holidays my daily number of readers, which used to be 42 has dropped to 23 did you know that these lucky people that give things away easily get 42 comments on just one post?...they eat my comments for a small, very un-filling snack :)


Believe me if I tried to give away anything I made you all would NOT be swarming to my blog.....I can MAKE my bed....but that would be awkward to give that away huh? I can MAKE my children do what I want them to do, but if I give the kids to you who will do what I want? :) I can MAKE people angry but sadly that is a special gift that one can not just give away. Due to my lack of self confidence I also can MAKE you feel great about yourself when you are around me..but I am sure that is way to expensive to ship. I can hear the lady at the post office asking me if there is anything "potentially hazardous, liquid or perishable" in the box I am shipping to you with my low self esteem in it :) Is low self esteem potentially hazardous or perishable ? :)


Maybe I could give away that file folder of all the patterns and instructions that I have collected throughout the years of things I am definitely going to make someday, when I am not immobilized by the fear of making them wrong :)


If I actually saved "stuff" I could give away the "stuff" that I have just "laying around." Sometimes it amazes me beyond belief what people have just laying around for when they need to casually whip up a birthday gift, wedding gift, or blog give away. But not me...nada.


Wait, I do have a box of old cassette's that I have not yet chucked....how about Hawaii Calls presents a collection of Favorite Hulas, or Selena, The Manhattan Transfer, The Best of Judy Garland.....whew my music tastes have really changed.


I have another idea... I could give away the clothes in my closet that no longer fit :) Would that increase my readers?


What about getting companies to give me stuff to give to you? What would I have to do for that to happen? I guess I would have to sit down and think of something I own that I love with all my heart. Some item that inspires me to use such fabulous descriptive words that you can not resist the urge to own the item yourself. Some item that I could never lie about my love, or need for. Some item you will do anything to buy. Then the company will notice a spike in the purchase of the item (especially if all 23 of you go buy it :) and they will trace it back to my Overthinking Everything blog and they will shower me with thanks and free gifts to give to you.


Okay, this sounds very do-able. So I am going to tell you all about some item that I own that I love and has changed my life...drum roll please... the item is, my new LL Bean flannel nightgown. I have worn flannel nightgowns my whole life. I love them. You can tuck your feet up inside of them. No one can tell how fat you are when you wear them. If someone accidentally comes to your house when you are still wearing them they cover everything and not embarrassing to be caught in in any way. Unlike the lingerie I know you all wear around the house :) I already googled "LL Bean Flannel nightgown" and guess what? 12,700 other people have already googled it before you so you better hurry. These are popular. Oh my goodness, they are so popular I can not even find them on LL Bean anymore...not even in the clearance. This is distressing. I was going to buy myself another one.


Well you will have to just enjoy looking at the picture I downloaded of my favorite LL Bean jammies and next time I tell you about something using such descriptive words that you can not resist the need to buy it be faster than that because I need a company to send me free items to give to you so I can be popular :)

Jan 5, 2009

So random I cannot even think of a title :)

Listen.....can you hear that? I know I can't hear it either isn't it beautiful? It is silence.

Yes, I love them but I needed all the cups to be in the cupboard, not on the counter or in the TV room. You do the math on 7 kids getting drinks all day....and an obsessive mom who cannot stand for the cups to be sitting on the counter. Yeah, I know I should buy some paper cups at the Wal Mart...thanks for mentioning it.

I also needed the Wii turned off. Every Christmas break they rediscover the electronic devices in the house. Madeline who never plays the Wii decided this Christmas break was all about everyone else watching her play Legend of Zelda. Thankfully, everyone was strangely okay with sitting around watching her.

I also needed Joe to stop chasing the little girls. They claim they like it. But we all know that that "liking it" thing does not last long.

During break Zach came home from BYU. He arrived a day later than planned due to bad weather and learned about the joys of spending the night in Cincinnati airport. He and I spent a lot of the break dealing with a pretty intense eye infection he acquired from his contacts. Just in case any optometrists are reading this blog let me casually mention that when you put someones kids in contacts you maybe should find out if that particular mom wears contacts herself because if she doesn't she probably does not know how to tell her kids how to take care of them, and how often to wear them, change them and such. She may even just think they are just amazing magic little discs :) So to make a long story short Zach is the proud owner of 2 pairs of glasses, and a $60.00 bottle of eye drops and he will not be wearing his contacts again for awhile. Can you say "bad mom?"

We also wrapped up the rest of his mission paperwork, got copies of physicals, and other exciting things like getting a TB test ( if you are ever stuck over a Christmas holiday needing a TB test that has to administered one day and then read 2 days later in between holidays when offices are closed call me I know all about how to get it done :)

He finished this semester with straight A's and one A minus. Do I dare tell him my BYU grades?

Over the break another paper route came available right next to our house so I took it. The three teenage girls and I fought about it and for the moment it is Miriam's route. She has 30 papers and will make $18.00 a week. Joe makes only $20.00 a week but they all know he buys whatever he wants and has a bank account with over $300 dollars in it so no on laughed at $18.00 a week. Plus the "circulation lady" at the newspaper informed Miriam that this route she is taking is the best tipping route in the town so she has grand visions of being filthy rich. It is funny how in the beginning they all laughed at Joe's small amount of money that he made but how they have realized that every little bit adds up.

For lots of reasons, that I do not want to burden you all with, I do not have my job at Lost Acres anymore so I am gearing up for the job search process again and spending a lot of time reassuring myself that it will all be okay, and consoling myself with that line that we always console ourselves with that everything happens for a reason :) ( I really know it does but I am in the middle of it right now not yet to the "looking back" at it part)

So I have wasted the morning cleaning out my inbox, drafts and junk mail, catching up on blogs and blogging so I must go exercise and clean in my oh so quiet house.

Jan 2, 2009

The movie with Natalie and Tatiana.

For a couple weeks now I have been trying to find a three hour moment to take Natalie and Tatiana to see Bolt and finally yesterday all the stars aligned perfectly and we made it to the movie. I confess that every time I take Natalie to the movie I swear that I will never do it again. Every single other Baird child has been very capable of sitting still for long amounts of time so I keep forgetting that this child number 7 is different. I hate to leave her out but it is OH so tortuous to go with her to the movie.

It starts the minute we walk in the theater and smell popcorn. You see I am one of those mom's that has never bought treats in the movie and never will. It goes against everything I stand for to spend $5.00 on something I know I could buy for .64 cents somewhere else. I have been known to put a bag of treats in my purse but because I happen to be a rule follower that is not my favorite option. Anyway, Natalie is obsessed with the food. So after we go to the bathroom, brave the escalator, and pick a seat the first words out of her mouth are always that she is hungry. I have never given in and I never will but she continues to make it an issue.

Tatiana sits perfectly still in her seat and watches everything that happens and never says a word. Natalie changes seats, talks out loud, constantly asks when the movie will be over, constantly asks what is happening, mentions a few more times that she is hungry, climbs in my lap, gets off my lap, climbs in my lap, climbs off of my lap, does not understand that the previews are not the movie and panics about that and do not even ask about how many times we go to the bathroom, that is what kills me the most I cannot stand to leave the movie and miss a thing...yes, even in Bolt.

Every time we go to the movie I think to myself it surely has to be better this time but every time I am wrong and she does it again. I am thinking this might be the first Baird child that will have to be medicated :)

Bolt was fine. I hate it when I have to say that something was "fine." It's like saying something is "satisfactory." I want to love it or hate it. What does fine really mean? It sounds so plain. But there is no other way to describe Bolt. I am not sure what I expect of Disney and Pixar anymore. but the magic has not been there for awhile. Hmmmm maybe it is because Natalie has been with me the last 5 or 6 Disney movies I have seen.